Traffic volumes are increasing on our nation’s roadways. This means that for drivers with increased speeds and heavy congestion, there is a need for enhanced marking recognition to increase awareness and vehicle reaction times. Pavement markings arguably provide the most cost-effective method of traffic delineation. Sign and pavement-marking improvements result in a 42% reduction in crashes, yielding benefit-cost ratios of 159:1 to 299:1. With bright, easy-to-see markings offering a better target value for the driver’s eye, day and nighttime visibility is improved and reaction times are increased, providing better traffic flow and reducing potential crashes.
There are a wide variety of pavement-marking materials and glass-bead applications available that can provide maximum performance and visibility for most roadways. Glass beads should be embedded 60% into the marking material for optimal balance between adhesion, durability and reflection. The 60% embedment rate offers the best retention of the glass bead and prolongs the reflective life of the marking.
It is essential that all pavement-marking materials be installed according to the guidelines recommended by materials manufacturers. Factors that should always play into striping decisions include temperature, road surface moisture and the varieties of your materials. Failure to follow installation guidelines increases the chance of failure of the marking and loss of reflectivity. Other factors that may compromise the reflectivity and durability of the marking include insufficient “mil” thickness, excess speed of application, excess temperature of material application and too many, or too few, beads.
Twenty-nine states are specifying wider lines for safer markings and better vehicular delineation. Wider lines provide increased visibility, day and night, providing increased reaction time and more effective delineation for our older motorists, as well as the inattentive, inexperienced and distracted drivers. Wider markings particularly increase night visibility by creating a larger reflective area to guide the motorist.
In the constant campaign to improve roadway safety it is necessary to monitor and improve our pavement markings so that they remain visible day and night. Faded, worn or flaking markings may provide some daytime visibility but can be ineffective for nighttime guidance. Markings that are not visible at night, or have their visibility reduced to the point of allowing the driver to see only a few feet in front of their vehicle, need to be replaced or remarked.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for all Americans aged 2 to 33, killing 117 people every day. Over 6 million motor vehicle crashes claim the lives of more than 42,000 Americans and cause nearly 3 million injuries each year. With these accidents costing the nation over $230 billion annually, it is imperative to make roadways one of the easiest, most visible parts of driving. The ability of the individual to see the road clearly is an essential component to the driver, worker and pedestrian safety mix. An effective system of glass-bead technology will improve day and nighttime visible clarity to the driver, while making road systems safer.
Brighter lines save lives.